Kurtis Cosner, a 9-year-old from Sunnyslope Elementary School, walked through the aisles of the Roseburg Fred Meyer in search of one thing: light-up sneakers.

He said he’s always wanted a pair, but he was never was able to get them. His wish came true at the 18th annual John Little Shopping Spree at Fred Meyer on Saturday morning.

The event, hosted by Roseburg Elks Lodge, invited 30 kids within the community to shop for new clothes within a $200 budget.

Doris Kobernik, shopping spree chair of the Roseburg Elks, has been involved with the event for the past four years, and the kids have so much fun picking out clothes.

“It was started by John Little who was a past Exalted Ruler there at Elks Lodge who had a heart for kids, who wanted to help build self esteem and confidence,” Kobernik said. “He thought that by helping kids get new clothes they could start school out in would be a good way to do that.”

Kathy Anderson, of Roseburg, has volunteered for the event for the past seven years.

“It helps families, and the kids don’t feel like they’re left out at school,” Anderson said.

Charlie Ketchem, 6, was shopping with volunteer Di Toleno. He was excited to shop for clothes with Minecraft characters on them because it’s his favorite video game.

“Charlie and I are having fun. We’ve got some really special shoes and socks. He loves the socks!” Toleno said.

After filing his cart with some new clothes and shoes, Charlie said the next thing he wanted to find was a pair of new shoes for his younger sister.

“He loves his sister,” said Tracy Stepp, Charlie’s mom. “I told him they’re going to be in the same school and he’s like, ‘Can we be in the same class?’”

Stepp said she was able to shop in a similar event when she was 10 at a Fred Meyer in Denver, Colorado. She said it was nice knowing her son would benefit from an event that helped her when she was younger.

“I just got the letter in the mail that said, be here on Saturday, and I was like ‘that is so awesome!’” Stepp said.

“It is a nice benefit because right now we’re a little bit low on income, so it’s a great help, especially for the new school year.”

Donny Thompson, a volunteer with the Elks, said Fred Meyer is a substantial partner for the event because they offer so many discounts for the kids.

“Fred Meyer participates in this pretty heavily with the discount. If it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be possible,” Thompson said.

He said last year, he took a little girl to the register and her merchandise totaled to $400. After coupons and discounts were added, the total dropped to a little over $200.

Liz Collins, apparel assistant manager at Fred Meyer, said that since the kids have such a substantial budget, they can really buy what they want.

“It’s cool to help them pick out the things that they want and to be able to get everything that they have on their list,” Collins said.

Hannah Kanik is a general assignment reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at hkanik@nrtoday.com and 541-957-4210. Or follow her on Twitter @hannah_kanik.

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Hannah Kanik is the Charles Snowden intern at The News-Review.

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